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Ishaq Dar among PML-N nominees for Senate elections

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Former Finance Minister Ishaq Dar is among the shortlisted candidates of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) for the upcoming Senate elections as claimed by the English newspaper Dawn. The sources of Dawn have reported that the newly constituted 15 member parliamentary committee of PML-N headed by the former premier Nawaz Sharif finalized the list.

Dawn also reported that Pir Hameeduddin Sialvi or his nominee will be given one seat in the senate by PML-N. Sialvi and his followers had demanded the resignation of Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Law Minister Rana Sanaullah on the Khatm-i-Nabuwat issue but the demands were later retracted. It was believed in the media circles that a settlement was reached between the PML-N and Sialvi. A senate seat might have been that settlement.

Legal experts believe that even if Dar is not convicted for corruption in the graft case, he might still be disqualified under Article 62(1)(f) for not declaring his assets. PML-N nominating Dar shows that they are ready to challenge court decisions and they will not be deterred by the contempt cases against their leaders. 

According to the Dawn report, Ishaq Dar was the first priority of the PML-N leadership but considering the legal and technical barrier in his election, the son of Ishaq Dar, Ali Dar, was also asked to submit his nomination papers for the senate elections. The last date of submission of nomination papers for Senate elections is 8th February.

PML-N currently has 27 senators and nine of them will be retiring next month. The party is expected to win all 12 senate seats from the Punjab assembly where they have the majority with 310 MPAs in the 371 member assembly, followed by 30 MPAs of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI). The opposition parties might unite against PML-N to win one seat but it will be a tough competition for the opposition.

Read more: Ishaq Dar refuses to resign despite pressure from PM, cabinet

PML-N is also set to win one seat in the KP assembly with 16 MPAs but its fate in Balochistan is uncertain after the turmoil in the provincial assembly that forced the former PML-N CM Sanaullah Zehri to resign. Media sources believe that PML-N has lost the trust of its legislators in the Balochistan assembly but it is expected that PML-N will still win the Senate elections and they’ll have 33 senators in the assembly.

Two PML-N leaders, Daniyal Aziz and Tallal Chaudhry, have already been summoned by the SC in contempt of court cases and they might be disqualified under Article 63 of the constitution.

A graft case was filed against Ishaq Dar after the 28th July 2017 verdict by the Supreme Court (SC) of Pakistan that disqualified the PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif. The case against Ishaq Dar is under process in an accountability court. 26 out of total 28 NAB witnesses have already recorded their statements against Dar. The proceedings have so far revealed that Dar’s assets grew exponentially in the past 20 years.

Read more: Accountability court issues non-bailable arrest warrant for Ishaq Dar

Dar has been declared a proclaimed offender by the accountability court for his continuous absence from the proceedings. It is unclear whether he will ever be able to return to the country or not. No evidence of any corruption or abuse of power has been proved in the graft case proceedings but the unnatural growth of wealth is enough to convict him according to rules of the accountability court.

According to the Dawn report, Ishaq Dar was the first priority of the PML-N leadership but considering the legal and technical barrier in his election, the son of Ishaq Dar, Ali Dar, was also asked to submit his nomination papers for the senate elections.

Media analysts believe that the nomination of Dar by PML-N is an act of rebellion against the courts by the party. The PML-N leadership has started a tirade against the judiciary ever since the 28th July verdict and the graft case against Dar was filed by NAB on the orders of the SC. Since Nawaz Sharif and his party have declared that the SC verdict was based on prejudice, nominating Dar as a Senator further reinforces their stance against the SC verdict.

Two PML-N leaders, Daniyal Aziz and Tallal Chaudhry, have already been summoned by the SC in contempt of court cases and they might be disqualified under Article 63 of the constitution. Legal experts believe that even if Dar is not convicted for corruption in the graft case, he might still be disqualified under Article 62(1)(f) for not declaring his assets. PML-N nominating Dar shows that they are ready to challenge court decisions and they will not be deterred by the contempt cases against their leaders. 


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